Constipation is the most common gastrointestinal complaint, with an estimated 4 million patients in the United States suffering from frequent constipation. The doctors at Triborough GI understand that many patients find it embarrassing to talk about constipation, but when your problem goes longer than a few days, it’s important to have an examination to rule out serious problems and prevent complications. To schedule an appointment, call one of the offices in Brooklyn, the Bronx, or Staten Island, New York, or use the online booking form.
Constipation is defined as having hard, dry stool and having fewer than three bowel movements a week. However, everyone’s bathroom habits are different. Some patients have bowel movements three times daily, while others have three bowel movements weekly.
Although the definition of constipation varies depending on your habits, if you eat regularly and you don’t pass stool every three days, it’s a good idea to talk with your doctor at Triborough GI.
You have chronic constipation when it’s hard to pass stools for several weeks. Any time your constipation lasts longer than a few weeks, or you have any of the following symptoms, you should schedule an appointment:
If you continue to have constipation after eating high-fiber foods regularly, it’s also a sign that you need medical attention.
Constipation most often develops when your stool passes through the large intestine too slowly, a problem that’s caused by a low-fiber diet, dehydration, lack of exercise, and dysfunctional muscles.
Other causes of constipation include:
Many different health conditions can cause blockages, nerve damage, and muscle problems, including cancer, anal fissures, diabetes, an underactive thyroid, Parkinson’s disease, and weakened muscles
If your doctor has concerns about the cause of your constipation after a physical exam and digital rectal exam, they may order diagnostic testing to evaluate the muscles and see how well food moves through your large intestine.
As long as you don’t have a serious underlying health condition, treatment for constipation begins by increasing your fluids and dietary fiber. Your doctor may also prescribe fiber supplements, a laxative, stool softener, or lubricant to help stool move through the intestine.
If the first line of treatment doesn’t work, you may need an enema or one of several possible prescription medications that promote healthy bowel movements. You may need surgery when your chronic constipation is caused by a blockage, anal fissure, or stricture. In the most severe cases of chronic constipation, surgical removal of part or all of the colon may be necessary.
If you have constipation, call Triborough GI or book an appointment online.